Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thinking of packing it in....

I'm thinking of giving up my allotment. Why? Because I don't seem to have enough time to go there much these days, what with the weather, other commitments, erratic health and just generally not having enough time to do things. So when I do get round to going there, I'm working so hard to catch up with myself it ceases to be a pleasure and becomes a chore. Produce rots on the plant because I've not been there to pick it or I miss the seed sowing window for that particular crop, or the place gets overgrown with weeds. I keep saying to myself "One more year....." One more year to see if I can get the plot to the place I actually want it to be, rather than the rather untidy, less than optimally productive place it is at present. It's not happened yet, not in three or four years of "One more year...."

I do have a garden. It's not big, but I have three apple trees and a pear tree, a small greenhouse, a paved area and enough space that I could put three or four beds in and grow vegetables and soft fruit there. At the moment it's completely neglected because I spend my meagre gardening time at the allotment. The kids don't use it much these days either. It's got potential.

It would be sensible to give up the allotment and spend the time I do have down in the garden, growing less but having more fun doing it, don't you think? It would be easier to spend odd half hours in the garden rather than schedule two or three hours at a time for the allotment. But....I'm very loathe to give up the allotment. I've put a lot of time and effort into it, I've got a lot of good plants, I've spent a lot of happy hours there and it's a bolt-hole, a theraputic place for me to go. My place. But really, it's all getting a bit too much for me. Once upon a time I could spend a day there and come home knackered but happy. Now, two hours of work wipes me out for the next three days.

The reason I'm thinking of this now is that the AGM is coming up and that means the annual rent, seed and potato orders plus mushroom compost orders are due. It all adds up to a fair bit of money, which would be wasted if I gave the allotment up in January, say. But I'm still thinking "Should I give it just one more year????"

Any thoughts???

PS. in response to the first two comments: No, sharing is not an option, both from the rules point of view and my own very selfish lone wolf owner methods, lol. (My allotment is run on somewhat eccentric lines...) The waiting list for an allotment here is nine years long, btw, and priority goes to local residents.

11 comments:

Caroline M said...

Can you not share the plot? If your site has a waiting list there may be someone on it that would be happy to have a part share now rather than wait for a full plot. Does it matter if it's less than optimally productive if you cover the rent with the savings on the produce? I worked out that I get my rent back just on the onions, everything else is a bonus.

I do wonder if I'm having fun when I'm digging out the compost heap and wheeling it around the plot. It's not like I couldn't find something better (warmer, drier) to do. If you're not sure then you;d be better giving it that one more year..

Knitlass said...

Why not share for a year and see if that suits you better? The only problem with growing veggies in your back garden is space - some crops like onions and potatoes take up lots of room, and we're in the opposite corner to you (no allotment, have to utilise back garden for veg)... on the other hand, some things are best when you can just grab a handful straight from the plant...

Where's your plot? We're on the waiting list for Midmar and West Mains... 3 years and counting. I'd offer to go halves with you - but actually that isnt very good form when waitings lists are sooooo long.

Jean said...

I can imagine the pain you are feeling -- but my vote is to give the allotment up, and go for the garden you've got. A lot can be grown in quite a small space. You could get a potato barrel or whatever they're called, so as not to have to abandon that delicious crop altogether.

Mine is sort of the opposite problem -- how much longer will I be strong enough to do it at all? I'm increasing perennials (herbs, fruit) in hopes of stringing things out.

Linda said...

If it's become a chore and not a pleasure, in my opinion, it's time to let it go.

thereyougothen said...

we've managed to grow a lot in our garden, and it *is* a pleasure to just go out the back door - especially at harvest time.

I'm going to miss it.

I know that *I* would never be able to take on an allotment. if you thought that the kids wold miss it terribly, then I'd counsel hanging onto it for another year and seeing how it goes, but if you're the only one in the family who's invested in it, and it's feeling like a chore? then take up the challenge and the fun of redesigning your *own* garden. yeah.

thereyougothen said...

but of course, what I'm forgetting to address is the bolthole aspect. I understand that completely, even though you get time alone at home, it's not the same as having somewhere *else* to go.

SO - how to make sure that you still have a place of escape? I don't have the answer to that, but I'm happy to help you brainstorm!

Nic said...

Hmm thats a tricky one. I'm at the other end too; growing in my garden and terribly envious of friends who have allotments but not sure that I have the time to give to having one myself.
I console myself with these advantages of growing in my garden....I can nip out to do the watering or picking veggies while tea is cooking, I don't have to give up an entire day or hours at at time to go to the allotment because I can just pick away at the veggie patch in my garden as and when I have the time.
Then the downsides...there is never really any volume to the crops I can grow...I grow 'some' of lots but not lots of anything so I don't feel like I am doing the growing veggies thing properly (does that make sense?), I don't get the community spirit and make the friends that people seem to do at the allotment, I can't physically escape to the bottom of the garden like I could to an allotment....dh still ignores the kids so I have to sort them out when I really want to be getting on etc
For me, I have seen your pictures of your allotment on your blog and they have made me jealous because it looks so industrious and pretty and a haven as well. I would be tempted to hold onto it and just do as much as you feel comfortable doing...unless you feel that it is a bind in which case maybe it is time to give it up...9yrs is a long time to wait though if you discover that you didn't really want to give it up after all...

rho said...

ok here is the odd person chiming in - how about keeping it another year and also doing a garden in your yard to be sure you enjoy doing it there and don't miss the time alone when you go to the allotment. Maybe don't plant as much in the allotment this year but it will keep you having it in case you decide you don't like doing it at home.

Helen said...

I think you've already decided. I think you've already done your last 'one more year'; you sound worn out.

Starting up in your own garden might be just the amount of galvanising that you need, and you could grab the odd half hour instead of always needing to find enough time to make it worthwhile. Can you remove plants from the allotment? That should give you a headstart. And you could admire the results of your efforts without having to leave home.

KathyR said...

Have you taken a really good look at the prices of veges in your supermarket lately? I don't know about you there, but here (early Spring) broccoli is about $3.50 (well over one pound) for one small head! It would not take a lot of veges to make the cost of an allotment worth it, I would think.

Your children are getting older - cna they help out with some of the heavier tasks which you are finding difficult? It is a great way of teaching them the value, and joy, of fresh produce. Can you sell your surplus to neighbours or at a "farmers" market?

zippiknits said...

You've probably made the decision to keep or not to keep. If it's for fun, and it's not fun anymore, then yes, time to quit.

I wondered, too, with the price of produce and fruit going up and up, if what Rho suggests, getting your backyard ready and keeping the allotment going, too- just in case- would be something you could do. Maybe it can be an important family project again. But then, there is the health issue. If you've been having trouble with that, that's really iffy.

My kids each have allotments in community gardens. Those are really in demand now.